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A new no-kill animal shelter opens in Torrey, Utah

“It’s so rural that the nearest stop light is actually farther away than outer space to us. A lot of land and not many people,” says Sarah Tal.

Except during tourist season, when just over one million people visit Capitol Reef National Park and surrounding areas. Sarah Tal is President of CCAW. In 2013, Tal and about a half dozen other residents realized the need for an animal shelter in the county. And a couple of years later, they found a twelve-acre property right off the highway. They raised the money, almost entirely from local donors to construct the 4,000 square foot building that serves as both a shelter and a boarding facility for residents, and tourists who can’t take their pets into the park or leave them in their hot cars.

“So we feel like this hybrid model will be really successful in helping to fund our non-profit to reducing the number of homeless cats and dogs in this area and advocating for the welfare of all animals,” says Tal.

Tal adds they learned a lot from Best Friends animal sanctuary and continue to work collaboratively with them, which helped lead to CCAW’s fear free model.

“Meaning that we have looked at everything from the animal’s perspective to make them as calm as possible which in turn makes them as adoptable as possible.”

And because it’s independent, not county-owned, they can maintain it as no kill shelter.

Their vision turned into a reality and Tal says she is relieved because she has been fostering eight cats.

“And I’m very much looking forward to not being the only place in town."

CCAW board members feel the same way. She says many of them have also been taking care of animals in need. A dog named Jackson had been run over and as a result his spine was severed and he lost a rear leg, board member Jen Howe took on the sad and messy challenge.

“That dog has been adopted and is truly the happiest most beautiful joyous dog we have ever seen.”

They have a new dog, Ruby, getting ready for adoption.

“She was shot with a shotgun at close range in her back and this same board member has been nursing her back to health and she has become the sweetest dog and she is playing mom to a tiny little kitten that was just rescued. So, the love just keeps flowing from one to the other and these are very rewarding stories.”

Thanks to CCAW, now there is more room and resources for lost and abandoned pets such as Jackson and Ruby. They are offering boarding in order to help fund future rescues like these.

They have about 15 dog kennels and some cat rooms. CCAW Vice President, Lee Austin, former Utah Public Radio program director, says they hope to expand with hiking trails and outdoor cat colonies.

“The fact that we have twelve gorgeous acres gives us a lot of flexibility,” says Austin.

A grand opening celebration for Color Country Animal Welfare will take place this Saturday, June 4, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. For more information you can call CCAW at 435-491-2050 or visit

Sheri's career in radio began at 7 years old in Los Angeles, California with a secret little radio tucked under her bed that she'd fall asleep with, while listening to The Dr. Demento Radio Show. She went on to produce the first science radio show in Utah in 1999 and has been reporting local, national and international stories ever since. After a stint as news director at KZYX on northern California's Lost Coast, she landed back at UPR in 2021.